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[22:1] The story here is marvellously like that of Matthew (xxi., 9). No one has been able to determine the position of Bethphage, where Jesus obtained his asses; but the situation of Nob is well known. It lies near Jerusalem, and is mentioned in the Old Testament and in Josephus.

[22:2] Zechariah's prophecy (ix., 9) is understood by this writer, but misunderstood by Matthew, who was evidently unacquainted with Jewish idioms. Hebrew authors often gained emphasis by iteration; witness especially the song of Deborah on Jael and Sisera. Zechariah, therefore, intended only one donkey; but Matthew stupidly puts him on two. Jeshu's biography, with better Hebrew and better taste, puts him on one.

[22:3] This parenthesis is probably an interpolation. The widow of Alexander Janneus is called Alexandra by Josephus (Antiq., bk. xiii., ch. 16). She reigned nine years after the death of her husband, leaving two sons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, both of whom reigned after her. Hyrcanus was killed by Herod (Antiq., xv., 2). The interpolator has possibly confounded Queen Alexandra with Helena, Queen of Adiabene, noted among the Jews as a Gentile proselyte who visited Jerusalem (Antiq., xx., 2). Mr. Gould thinks that the Helena referred to in the text "is probably the mother of Constantine, who went to Jerusalem in A.D. 326 to see the holy sites, and, according to an early legend, discovered the three crosses on Calvary." This supposition, however, is gratuitous and absurd. Constantine's mother was a proselyte to Christianity. It was the more ancient queen Helena, who was a famous proselyte to Judaism, that a Hebrew writer would probably bear in mind.

[23:4] Jesus healed lepers as well as Jeshu; see Luke vii., 22, and many other passages. Leprosy appears to have been a prevalent disease among the chosen people, and Jehovah spent a great deal of his time in legislating for its treatment. Compare 2 Kings v., 14, where Naaman's flesh "became again like unto the flesh of a little child."

[24:5] See Isaiah xxxv., 6.

[24:6] Queen Helena's reluctance to meddle with Jeshu is very similar to the legend of Pilate's wife in Matthew. "Have thou nothing to do with that just man," says the wife of the Roman governor. See xxvii., 19.

[24:7] Compare Matthew xxvi., 3-4 -- "Then assembled together the chief priests … and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him." It may be remarked that while our narrative allows ample time for the capture of Jeshu, the Gospel narratives huddle up that of Jesus in the crudest manner; the plot, the betrayal, the seizure all happening in one evening, or in an incredibly short space of time.

[24:8] Judas is here one of the "wise men" or rabbis. It is remarkable that the opponent of Jeshu and the betrayer of Jesus bore the same name, and the presumption is that both characters are founded on a common legend.

[24:9] Compare Matthew xxvii., 25 -- "Then answered all the people and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."

[25:1] This phrase, like many in our Gospels, is misappropriated and spoiled from the Old Testament. Obadiah 4, says "though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord." The author, like our Gospel writers, could misquote the Old Testament and blaspheme at the same time.

[25:2] Compare. Matthew xiii., 15. See also Exodus xxxii., 9.

[25:3] See Deuteronomy xiii., 6-10, containing the malignant law of heresy, with which the Jews justify the death of Jesus. If the hero of our Gospels was indeed the son of Jehovah, his fate was a remarkable instance of poetical justice.

[25:4] Psalms ii., 7.--"My beloved son" was said of Jesus by the holy dove at his baptism, and "this day have I begotten thee" is added in the ancient gospel according to the Hebrews. This latter clause would of course be inconsistent with the story of Matthew, who represents Jesus as having been miraculously conceived thirty years earlier.

[25:5] Psalms cx., 1. It is likewise quoted by Jesus. See Matthew xxii., 44.

[25:6] Compare John xx., 17, and especially Mark xiv., 62, and xvi, 19.

[25:7] The "Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul" narrates <--26--> a similar contest between Peter and Simon Magus, under which designation Paul is clearly aimed at in the Clementine Recognitions. Simon Magus, by the power of sorcery, flew through the air, and seemed to be going to heaven; and straight-way Peter (of course not by sorcery) invoked the name of Jesus Christ, when down fell Simon in quarters (Ante Nicene Christian Library vol. xvi., p. 273). Mr. Gould, after a slight reference to this legend, adds that "it reminds one of the contest in the Arabian nights between the Queen of Beauty and the Djin in the story of the Second Calender."

[26:8] The sacred name could only be pronounced in a state of perfect purity, which may account for its Being lost among the Jews.

[26:9] Compare Matthew xxvii., 40, where Jesus is invited to work a miracle in his own favor by descending from the cross; but Jesus, like Jeshu, was unable to respond.

[26:1] Psalms xliv., 23. Quoted also in Romans viii., 36.

[26:2] Jeshu's disciples stick by him, and he escapes. The disciples of Jesus "all forsook him and fled." Jeshu appears to have made a better selection.

[26:3] The Jordan where Jesus was baptised, was a sacred river, a miniature Ganges. Naaman washed in it to remove his leprosy, and Jeshu purifies himself in its waters.

[26:4] Readers will remember the miraculous draught of fishes in our Gospels, and the walking on water, which may be considered equivalent to floating the mill-stones. In miraculously feeding the multitude, Jeshu took the precaution to furnish himself with fish.

Return to Chapter II.


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